If a new ballpark is announced, you can bet the NIMBY folks will appear shortly — and this is what’s happened after the Loudoun Hounds (independent; Atlantic League) announced plans for a new ballpark at One Loudoun Place.
Residents of Potomac Green, a planned community serving the 55-and-older crowd a half mile from the proposed ballpark site, have spoken out against the ballpark and cited all the usual reasons why ballparks are bad — more traffic, increased noise, distracting lights, and the possible presence of drunks cavorting through the neighborhood. (In other words, the old folks are telling the ballpark fans to get off their lawns.) They do bring up a concern we’ve not seen before, but would be a logical concern for residents of a senior-citizen community: ballpark traffic could impede the efforts of EMT units to respond to calls from the development.
Now, putting a ballpark in a place where there’s already traffic makes good business sense: a hidden ballpark is a failure. And a smart ballpark operator can minimize the impact on a neighborhood, as county supervisors and One Loudoun Place officials have already pledged. The area already suffers from high traffic at peak rush hour, so some traffic studies for Route 7 are on the docket.
Opponents of the ballpark, admittedly, don’t assume they can kill the project: we’re talking about a privately financed facility in an area zoned for development. But the sense of entitlement from the ballpark opponents is simply breathtaking (local politicians fail “to demonstrate a clear understanding that Potomac Green and the other 55+ communities that surround the stadium are unique and deserve special consideration.”), and we expect the debate to continue even after the first pitch is thrown in 2014.
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